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  • Writer's pictureNetworking Gone Wrong

How to share success stories without bragging

It seems like there is doom and gloom everywhere: a global pandemic, recession, exam assessment disasters, etc.

There are good stories out there and there are companies and individuals who are doing really well despite all of this. Yet sometimes when they share their successes, it can come across more like showing off.

63% of my LinkedIn poll said that it’s not OK to show off about financial success during a recession.

Showing off about financial success during recession. Is it OK? Yes - 24%, No - 63%, Other - 13%. 97 votes.

I’ve combined the discussion in the comments with my own research of online ethics to present 3 tips for sharing success ethically.

1. Consider your tone

Adam said: ‘Tone and the way success is portrayed is key.’
Lara said: ‘It needs to be done with humility’

The problems arise when people share things that sound like this: ‘I made 100 K this month. If you didn’t turbo-charge your business during lockdown, you didn’t lack time, you lacked discipline.’

This kind of tone:

- Fails to consider the fact that everyone’s journey is different

- Shows a lack of awareness of current issues

- Has zero empathy to the challenges faced by others

The purpose of this post appears to be to make one feel superior by putting other people down. Not very impressive after all.

To get the tone right, consider the purpose of your post.

Is it simply to share a successful development, or is to inspire others, give advice, or perhaps give people hope during the bleak period?

I bet that whatever success story you want to share involved a journey with ups and downs.

Stories about overcoming challenges and admitting vulnerability can make us appear more relatable and give people hope for their own future. It’s not a weakness, it’s honesty, and people are craving authenticity.

A hippo in trousers and a jacket saying: 'I am a wealthy man'
A drawing by Jack Brougham

2. Share credit

It’s always nice to say thanks!

It might take a couple of minutes to map out all people who you can thank. It doesn’t have to be a full-on Oscar speech but if you really think about it, you can probably tag a few more people in your celebratory post.

People don’t have to have been directly involved, it could be your LinkedIn connections that inspire you to keep going. Everyone likes being thanked and feeling appreciated.

3. Help others succeed

Servene said: ‘What do you do with the profits/gains. That I find interesting.’

Morgan wants to hear of ‘positive steps to extend the opportunities to others with less access.’

Our good fortune is so much more meaningful when it’s shared with others, whether it’s

donating to a charity or mentoring a person who hopes to achieve the things you’ve done. It could be something as simple as giving advice to help others achieve.

If you are on the up, give a hand to someone who is down, it’s great to have company at the top! Furthermore, when you announce your good news and say how it’s not good news just for you, but for others as well – people are more likely to be impressed.

With these tips in mind, I want to encourage everyone to share your good news and achievements (big and small) – we all need hope and positivity.

Finally, and this is for everyone, let’s never compare our lives to anybody else’s. You never know what’s really going inside someone else’s home or inside their head. All we can do is be happy when others are doing well and give a helping hand when they are not.

Networking Gone Wrong is a project that was set up to share stories of professionals behaving badly so we can all learn how to behave ethically.

Our new course on online ethics can help you protect your reputation and improve relationships online. Each session is tailored to your goals and challenges. Like everything nowadays, it is delivered via Zoom.


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